Shopping for the best sleep apnea pillow for a side sleeper?
You have come to the right place.
Your airway is affected by your sleeping position, so investing in the correct type of pillow can really make a difference in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) treatment and ensure improved breathing.
This is especially for side-sleepers, who are most impacted by the pillow they choose.
Why Buy A Special Pillow For Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea pillows are a highly effective way to improve breathing and to reduce symptoms such as snoring – especially for side sleepers.
Sleep apnea pillows make it easier to administer CPAP therapy, to keep airways open using gravity, and to allow for adjustments to suit your particular support needs.
If you are having trouble sleeping w/ your CPAP, then you should give a sleep apnea pillow a try first before looking for medical solutions.
For some people, this small lifestyle change can be enough to improve their symptoms and eliminate the need for any other treatment.
What's In This Buying Guide
With the number of sleep apnea pillows available today, choosing just the right one can be difficult.
To ensure that you pick the right pillow for your needs, we recommend and review the best sleep apnea pillows for side sleepers.
After our reviews, we provide a detailed buying guide for sleep apnea pillows that explain how they help, and we discuss the factors & features to consider when choosing a sleep apnea pillow for a side sleeper, in particular.
So let's get started:
Best Sleep Apnea Pillows For Side Sleepers
- Most Adjustable: PureComfort Pillow
- Versatile Design: EnduriMed CPAP Pillow
- Most Affordable: Lumia Wellness CPAP Pillow
- Best Construction: Contour CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow
- Best Material: Helix Wedge Pillows
- Best Travel Pillow: Sleep Innovations Contour Pillow
|PureComfort Pillow||Most Adjustable||CertiPUR Certified Memory foam||3.34 pounds||20 x 4 x 12 inches||Bamboo|
|EnduriMed CPAP Pillow||Versatile Design||Dual-density memory foam||2 pounds||22.44 x 11.81 x 5.12 inches||Custom washable pillow cover|
|Lumia Wellness CPAP Pillow||Affordable||Contoured memory foam||2 pounds||24 x 14 x 5 inches||Organic cotton|
|Contour CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow||Multi-Layered Construction||Ventilated memory foam||3.49 pounds||20.4 x 12.5 x 5.75 inches||-|
|Helix Wedge Pillows||Best Material||Polyfoam and cooling gel memory foam||-||24 x 24 x 24 inches||Rayon and polyester|
|Sleep Innovations Contour Pillow||Best for travel||Polyurethane||1.4 pounds||20 x 15 x 5 inches||Washable|
1. Most Adjustable: PureComfort Pillow
Specially designed for side sleepers, the PureComfort pillow ensures a good night's sleep by relieving neck and ear pain. It comes with height inserts that allow you to adjust the pillow according to your comfort preference.
- Features ear cutouts
- Reduces overall facial pressure
- CertiPur-certified memory foam
- Great for CPAP users
- Adjustable height
- Soft bamboo cover
- Machine washable
- 100 night trial period
- 5-year warranty
- Not suitable for heavy people
The PureComfort side sleeping pillow is designed with cutouts to eliminate ear pain as well as overall facial pressure while sleeping. It is also an excellent pillow option for CPAP users.
The height inserts provided with this pillow allow you to adjust the pillow height according to your preference, thus making it highly effective against neck pain.
This high-quality pillow meets the CertiPUR standards for emissions, durability, and content. It is made without using mercury, PBDEs, TCEP flame retardants, TDCPP, formaldehyde, lead, heavy metals, and phthalates, making it a safe option.
The PureComfort pillow comes with a soft bamboo cover. This pillow cover can be machine-washed, making it easier to care for and maintain. The hypoallergenic qualities of this pillow cover also make it suitable for people who suffer from allergies.
The best thing about this pillow is that you can return it within 100 days and get a refund if you are unsatisfied. The bamboo cover also comes with a 5-year warranty.
Users who have broad shoulders and are on the heavier side have complained that this pillow does not support their head and has caused neck and lower back pain.
2. Versatile Design: EnduriMed CPAP Pillow
The EnduriMed CPAP pillow has a patented design that can accommodate all body types, whether large or small, and works best for both side and back sleepers. The versatile design of this pillow accommodates anyone easily and offers ample support for neck, spine, and head alignment.
- Unique contour design
- 2 thickness levels
- Designed for BiPAP, CPAP, and APAP Users
- Washable cover
- Soft memory foam
- Ideal for stomach, side, and back sleepers
- Removable foam pad
- The foam may have a slight smell
The EnduriMed CPAP combines high-quality memory foam with a contoured design to reduce air leaks, mask pressure and maximize support and comfort.
Its unique design contours conveniently accommodate full face masks, allowing the tubing to move freely and making it easier for you to breathe throughout the night.
Regardless of whether you are a back, stomach, or side sleeper, the pressure-free mask zones in this pillow allow you to sleep comfortably. The dual-density design accommodates both large and small users. You can also increase or decrease the pillow size with the help of a removable pad foam.
With this pillow, you can keep the mask on all night without worrying about bruising or pressure lines as it was designed while keeping comfort in mind.
One small issue that some verified users faced was that the memory foam had a slight smell initially; however, they could hardly smell it through their masks.
3. Most Affordable: Lumia Wellness CPAP Pillow
The Lumia Wellness pillow keeps your face and head cool and comfortable all night. This butterfly-shaped unit is budget-friendly custom-made for CPAP users.
- Butterfly-shaped design
- Perfect for back, stomach, and side sleepers
- Side cutouts for mask
- Cool, breathable memory foam
- Integrated hose straps
- Organic cotton pillowcase
- Not thick enough; you will have to keep a regular pillow underneath
- Not refundable
The Lumia Wellness pillow’s contoured shape and side cutouts offer sufficient space for the mask to rest freely, thus preventing air leaks and reducing pressure. Plus, the integrated hose straps allow you to secure the tubing, which prevents kinking or tangling while sleeping.
This pillow comes with a premium organic, soft, and breathable cotton pillowcase. You can easily remove the cover and machine wash it whenever necessary.
The breathable, cool memory foam delivers a supportive and comfortable sleep experience in any position. This Lumia Wellness pillow is small and lightweight, so you can take it along with you if you frequently travel.
Although this pillow is quite firm, it is not very thick. Most verified customers have stated that they used this CPAP pillow on top of their regular bed pillow as it is not thick enough to be used by itself.
Another disadvantage of this pillow is that it does not come with a trial period. So, make sure that this is the best unit for you before purchasing it.
4. Best Construction: Contour CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow
The CPAPMax 2.0 pillow supports a 3-layer construction that offers optimal positioning and support. You can adjust the height of these pillows, making them ideal for back, side, and stomach sleepers.
- Dual-sided sleeping surface
- Custom cutouts promote proper airflow
- Ergonomically designed
- Concave center
- 4 adjustable heights
- 3 removable layers
- Extended hose tether provides improved CPAP hose control
- 2-year warranty
- Too firm
- It May be small for some users
The CPAPMax 2.0 is designed with side cutouts that help reduce mask interference and prevent your mask from moving and slipping throughout the night. This pillow features 3 individual foam layers that you can rearrange and remove to create different profiles and feels.
The top layer of memory foam cradles the contours of your face. The highly resilient middle layer delivers added support for the shoulders and neck, while the charcoal-infused bottom layer ensures freshness.
The dual-sided pillow comes with breathable mesh on one side and is cushioned with plush fiberfill on the other. You can use this pillow on either side, depending on your preference.
The concave center portion of this pillow provides better support for the head, while the crescent cutouts for the shoulders help maintain continual and positive airflow throughout the night.
Constructed from high-quality material, the CPAPMax 2.0 pillow retains its shape even after being used daily for years. You can also return this pillow if you do not find it helpful to your situation.
Some verified customers have complained that their neck does not sit in the specified position and causes them discomfort. Some users have also found it very firm.
5. Best Material: Helix Wedge Pillows
Wedge pillows are a great option for sleep apnea patients as they are designed with an incline that helps keep the airway open through gravity. Constructed with gel memory foam and polyfoam, the Helix Wedge Pillow helps reduce apnea events and allows for a cooler sleep.
- Made of polyfoam and cooling gel memory foam
- 10-inch thickness
- Comfortable, gradual incline
- Good for side sleepers
- Removable and washable cover
- 1-year warranty
- A bit expensive
- Sleep trial needs one month break-in period
The Helix wedge pillow serves as an elevating neck pillow for people who snore because of sleep apnea. You can also place it underneath your legs if you want extra lower back support. This pillow is 10 inches thick and comes with a washable polyester and rayon cover.
An excellent combination of resiliency and contouring, the Helix wedge is a medium-firm pillow with a gradual incline that allows users to find the most comfortable spot for sleeping.
Broad-shouldered sleepers will also find its generous 24-inch width quite convenient as it provides ample support for their neck and shoulders.
The Helix wedge pillow is best for side sleepers as it helps support the neck and upper back. Back sleepers can also find it comfortable as it helps with a number of ailments like acid reflux, snoring, etc.
You can also use this pillow to elevate your legs as it helps reduce pressure on your lower back and offers added back support. The cover of this pillow is a rayon and polyester blend, which can be machine washed and dried on a low tumble setting.
Many sleep apnea patients do not respond well to wedge pillows, as adjusting to them takes time. For this reason, the Helix wedge pillow comes with a 100-night free trial to provide you with risk-free experimentation.
Although the sleep apnea wedge pillow comes with a refund policy, you need a mandatory 30-night break-in period. So, the company will not accept any returns or refunds until after a month of your purchase. Plus, it is expensive than most sleep apnea pillows.
6. Best Travel Pillow: Sleep Innovations Contour Pillow
This memory foam contour pillow from Sleep Innovations is ideal for side sleepers as it adapts to the head, shoulders, and neck to offer gentle alignment and enhanced support. It is also very light, making it great for travel.
- Therapeutic design
- Promoted spinal alignment
- 2 contour levels
- Soft, washable cover
- CertiPUR-US certified
- Not firm enough
The therapeutic design of this contour pillow keeps the cervical spine in an optimal position while alleviating back and neck pain. It is ideal for side sleepers as it prevents the airway from being blocked.
This sleep apnea pillow from Sleep Innovations is designed to cradle the head gently in the middle and an arch to support the neck.
The 2 contour levels allow you to choose between higher and lower contours, depending on the kind of neck support you find comfortable.
Weighing just 1.4 pounds, the Sleep Innovations contour pillow is a great option for a good night’s sleep on the go.
Some verified users, however, are not happy with the firmness of this Sleep Innovations pillow. They find it does not provide adequate neck support as it is too soft.
Pillows For Sleep Apnea: Buying Guide
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Nearly one billion people worldwide, including men, women, and children, are affected by sleep apnea. This sleeping disorder is characterized by pauses in breathing during the night that usually lasts for 10 seconds or longer.
As a result, the brain and the body are deprived of oxygen which can cause severe complications like high blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, heart attack, stroke, and even death.
Sleep apnea is classified into 3 major types:
Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common types that occurs when the airway is partially or completely blocked by the tongue or the soft tissues found at the back of the throat. Loud snoring is a common symptom.
This type of sleep apnea occurs when the respiratory control center in the brain experiences a problem. The brain fails to send a message to the brain to breathe, causing central apnea.
People are diagnosed with complex sleep apnea when they suffer from both central and obstructive forms.
What Is A Sleep Apnea Pillow – And How Does It Work?
If you have attempted to sleep on an ordinary pillow while wearing a CPAP mask or tried to make a wedge by stacking pillows, then only you can appreciate the comfort and convenience provided by sleep apnea pillows.
These pillows help treat sleep apnea, as they provide room for CPAP masks, lift the head, stabilize position, and allow for adjustments.
They keep the neck and the head in a neutral alignment with the spine, which helps improve your symptoms. However, these benefits vary depending on the form of the disorder that you have and on your medical history.
Most sleep apnea pillows have a memory foam base; however, some units may also contain materials like cooling gel foam.
Typically, these pillows have a lifespan of almost 2 years. Specialty designs like wedge and CPAP pillows may have a higher price point compared to ordinary pillows.
What Are The Types Of Sleep Apnea Pillows
There are many types of sleep apnea pillows, and they all come with their pros and cons. They differ in style, materials, shape, and firmness levels. Depending on your sleep position and personal preference, you can find the option that works best for you.
Particularly designed to accommodate CPAP masks, these pillows feature indented areas on both sides and provide sufficient space for tubes and bulky full-face masks.
These pillows are best for stomach and side sleepers as they require extra space to accommodate their mask.
However, back sleepers may find them too lofty.
Orthopedic Memory Foam
Orthopedic memory foam pillows have the same features as CPAP pillows, but they offer deep spine support and help prevent facial bruising and air leaks. If you use a low-impact mask or are a back sleeper, then these pillows are for you.
The sloped design of wedge pillows keeps the upper body elevated in bed, which helps to minimize snoring and reduce airway compression.
Typically, these pillows are used while watching TV or reading in bed; however, some users find them helpful for sleeping too.
Adjustable pillows are typically made from shredded foam. These pillows make it easy to change filling positioning, the loft, and other details.
Primarily intended for back sleepers, cervical pillows are engineered to relieve pressure on the neck. These ergonomically designed pillows feature an indent in the center to cradle the head.
Standard pillows are typically filled with down alternatives, foam, down, or feathers. These pillows come in a standard regular shape, are generally inexpensive, and are widely available.
However, they are not designed with any special features that may make them suitable for people with sleep apnea.
Many people like to sleep on a down or feather pillow; however, they are not the best option for sleep apnea. These pillows are quite yielding and do not offer adequate support for the neck and head.
What to look for in a Sleep Apnea Pillow?
Buying a sleep apnea pillow is different from buying an ordinary pillow.
It is best to learn about how they are constructed, what to look for, and the different varieties available, as it can make the whole process simpler and less stressful.
A pillow’s shape and how well it retains that shape are vital considerations when dealing with sleep apnea. Side sleepers prefer contoured pillows as they can comfortably accommodate the neck and shoulders.
Certain sleepers, on the other hand, prefer specialty shapes like CPAP and wedge pillows.
Wedge pillows keep the upper body elevated, which makes them popular with back sleepers. CPAP pillows appeal to stomach and side sleepers as they allow space for the hose and mask.
The fill material in your sleep apnea pillow determines its effectiveness and level of comfort.
Typically made from memory foam, sleep apnea pillows are usually firm or medium-firm. They hold up the head and neck and help to keep the spine aligned.
The best units offer cooling properties, thus preventing them from becoming too hot at night.
Look for sleep apnea pillows that can retain their shape for longer and contour nicely around the head. Hypoallergenic sleep apnea pillows are also an excellent choice.
Pillow cover material
It is best to choose a pillow cover that has a bug- and mite-repellent substances. It should be easily removable, preferably closed with a zip.
Since it can get quite hot in summers, a machine-washable pillow cover is a better option as it can accumulate a lot of oil and sweat.
The thickness of a sleep apnea pillow influences the angle of the neck and head, thus affecting spinal alignment, comfort, ease of breathing, and more.
Some pillows come with adjustable thickness and allow users to remove or add materials to achieve their desired comfort level. Side sleepers prefer more thickness, back sleepers opt for medium thickness, whereas stomach sleepers prefer less thick pillows.
Sleep apnea pillows come in a range of sizes, and it is essential to choose one that is right for your body and bed.
Some people prefer larger sleep apnea pillows as they provide more space. They can move around in their sleep without losing the comfort and support of their pillow.
Many people are inclined towards smaller pillows as they are portable and can be easily taken along on their travels.
Like traditional pillows, the price of a sleep apnea pillow varies according to type, materials, and size. Pillows specially designed for CPAP users are usually more expensive.
You can find a good-quality sleep apnea pillow in the $50 to $150 price range. Units with excellent design features and high-quality materials provide the best value as they balance affordability and price.
Like mattresses, some companies offer a trial period on their pillows. This is helpful as you can use a pillow for a certain number of days to ensure that it helps with your sleep apnea.
Some sleep apnea pillows come with a warranty that ensures less risk and greater peace of mind in the long run.
Pros and cons
- Comfortable: Designed for sleep apnea patients, these pillows help to alleviate their suffering and ensure their comfort.
- Practical: These pillows are designed with cut-outs and indents that make it easier to adhere to CPAP therapy.
- Convenient: Some higher-end models come with warranties and sleep trials, keeping your investment safe.
- Expensive: Some units are expensive and may not fit every budget.
- Difficult to choose the right design: Deep molding can make it quite difficult to choose the right product.
- Takes time to adjust: Some people may not make a smooth transition when shifting from a regular pillow to a sleep apnea pillow and may require an adjustment period.
Pillow Care and Maintenance
Sleep apnea pillows typically do not require much care and maintenance. However, if you want to keep your pillow in tip-top condition throughout its lifetime, follow the care directions provided by the manufacturer.
Also, choose a unit with a removable pillowcase as it is easy to maintain and takes good care of your sleep apnea pillow.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best sleeping position for people with sleep apnea?
The preferred position for sleep apnea patients is side sleeping as it encourages blood flow and reduces snoring.
Are sleep apnea pillows really effective?
Although a pillow cannot treat sleep apnea, it can effectively enhance the quality and comfort of your rest.
Do you agree that sleeping on a wedge helps with sleep apnea?
A study carried out on apnea patients observed that sleeping with their heads elevated improved their sleep quality.
Sleeping without a pillow is good for sleep apnea: is it true?
It is unlikely that sleeping without a pillow can help sleep apnea. In fact, it is most likely to disturb the spinal alignment of back and side sleepers, thus putting more pressure on the airway.
Stomach sleeping, however, can benefit people with sleep apnea. A large number of stomach sleepers prefer to sleep without a pillow as it does not force their head backward.
Final Verdict: What is the best sleep apnea pillow for side sleepers?
We believe the CPAPMax2.0 pillow from Contour Products is the best option for side sleepers. It works with CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP masks and is ergonomically designed to keep the mask in place without disturbing your sleep.
The extended hose tether attaches to the hose and keeps it in place so it does not tug off your mask.
With this pillow, you will enjoy excellent support and a great night's sleep – with less concern.
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